LOUISIANA PURCHASE, HAITI AND NAPOLEON
(The Moral Liberal) - American Minute with Bill Federer
The size of the U.S. doubled on APRIL 30, 1803, with the Louisiana Purchase.
Nearly a million square miles, purchased at less than three cents an acre – it was the greatest land bargain in history!
Massachusetts threatened to secede as a result, as it thought that adding of such a large territory to the Federal Union would dilute the role of individual States.
President Thomas Jefferson brokered a compromise with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, commenting in his Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805:
“I know that the acquisition of Louisiana has been disapproved by some from a candid apprehension that the enlargement of our territory would endanger the union, but who can limit the extent to which the Federative principle may operate effectively?”
The Louisiana Territory was sold to the United States by Napoleon Bonaparte.
A slave rebellion in Haiti.
In 1660, France took half of the island from Spain, calling it Saint-Domingue.
Saint-Domingue, later called “Haiti,” became one of the wealthiest colonies in the world, producing sugar, indigo, cotton and coffee.
Unfortunately, the plantations used slave labor.
Slavery was abolished in France with the French Revolution in 1789, but allowed to continue in Haiti.
Slaves in Haiti revolted in 1789, and over the next 15 years, tens of thousands of French, Mulattos, Blacks, and even Polish, fought. As promises were made and broken, allegiances went back and forth, and tens of thousands were killed on all sides with horrible brutality.
Napoleon anticipated the slave rebellion would spread to North America endangering the French land west of the Mississippi River, so he decided to cut his losses, especially since he needed quick money for his military conquests in Europe.
Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory, named after the “Sun King” Louis XIV, for fifteen million dollars.
As France no longer had the tropical colony of Haiti, Napoleon wanted to replace it, so he invaded Egypt.
Napoleon eventually conquered large areas of Europe and into Russia, but was forcibly exiled to the Mediterranean Island of Elba.
He escaped and returned to rule France again for 100 days, but after losing at Waterloo in 1815, he was permanently banished to the tiny island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. There he began to reflect on his life.
In the writing “On St. Helena,” 1816, Napoleon is reported to have stated to General H.G. Bertrand:
The Gospel possesses a secret virtue, a mysterious efficacy, a warmth which penetrates and soothes the heart. One finds in meditating upon it that which one experiences in contemplating the heavens.
The Gospel is not a book; it is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades everything that opposes its extension. Behold it upon this table, this book surpassing all others (here the Emperor solemnly placed his hand upon it):
I never omit to read it, and every day with new pleasure. Nowhere is to be found such a series of beautiful ideas, and admirable moral maxims, which pass before us like the battalions of a celestial army…The soul can never go astray with this book for its guide…
Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and His will confounds me. Between Him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison; He is truly a Being by Himself. His ideas and His sentiments, the truth which He announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things.
Truth should embrace the universe. Such is Christianity, the only religion which destroys sectional prejudices, the only one which proclaims the unity and the absolute brotherhood of the whole human family, the only one which is purely spiritual; in fine, the only one which assigns to all, without distinction, for a true country, the bosom of the Creator, God.
Christ proved that He was the Son of the Eternal by His disregard of time. All His doctrines signify one only and the same thing-eternity. What a proof of the divinity of Christ! With an empire so absolute, he has but one single end – the spiritual melioration of individuals, the purity of the conscience, the union to that which is true, the holiness of the soul…
Not only is our mind absorbed, it is controlled; and the soul can never go astray with this book for its guide. Once master of our spirit, the faithful Gospel loves us. God even is our friend, our father, and truly our God. The mother has no greater care for the infant whom she nurses…
If you do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, very well: then I did wrong to make you a general.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet.